Beagles

At a glance
beagle2The Beagle is a medium-sized scent hound originally meant for hunting. Modifications of the breed occurred for hundreds of years but the Beagle we know today originated from early 19th century England.  Perhaps the most commonly recognized Beagle is Snoopy, the “world’s most famous beagle” from the Peanuts comic strip.

While this dog happens to be a highly popular family pet, one of his greatest weaknesses is not being able to resist the temptation to track scents. Homeowners should plan to maintain a secure and escape-proof yard to ensure their Beagle doesn’t break free to hunt down whatever smells entice him.

Summary

  • Names – Beagle, English Beagle
  • Group – AKC: Hound Group; KC: Hounds
  • Size – medium
  • Life expectancy – 9 – 15 years (Beagles live an average of 12 years)
  • Cost of ownership – medium
  • Ease of ownership – medium
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Amount of Exercise – medium
  • Amount of Grooming – low
  • Ease of Training – low
  • Obedience level – medium
  • Suitable for Children – high
  • Amount of Care Required – low
  • Susceptibility to Health Problems – medium

Appearance
The Beagle is a resilient and compact small hound.  He has a sleek, short, hard coat that is available in tri color, black and tan, red and white, orange and white and lemon and white.  Their skull is broad and slightly rounded and the muzzle is straight and square.  Their nose is black and features large nostrils designed for scenting.  They have long floppy ears and large brown or hazel eyes that are set well apart and look soft, gentle and hound-like.  Their feet are round and strong and the tail is carried gaily, curling over the back and never flopping.

Weight

  • Bitch – 8kg (18lbs) to14kg (31lbs)
  • Dog – 8kg (18lbs) to14kg (31lbs)

Height

  • Bitch – 33cm (13″) to 40cm (16″)
  • Dog – 33cm (13″) to 40cm (16″)

Coat

  • Color – beagles are most commonly tri-color(black, tan and white) but may also be black and tan, red and white, orange and white and lemon and white .
  • Coat – Short/Smooth
  • Shedding – medium
  • Allergies – low
  • Causes Allergies – low

Character
While Beagles are wonderful playmates and are hardy dogs, separation anxiety is a problem with this breed.  Furthermore, Beagles are known for their trademark bays, barks and howls when faced with unfamiliar scents and situations and can easily wake the neighborhood with their incessant noise.  However, these annoying behaviors can be controlled by training the dog while he is still a puppy with firm yet gentle commands.

Early socialization helps the Beagle to be friendly with other dogs and children as well as strangers.  That said, their ever-present hunting instinct makes them incompatible with non-canine pets.   Thus, the importance of the dog’s socialization with cats and other household animals when he is still a puppy cannot be stressed enough.  Due to the Beagle’s friendly nature towards humans, he is a poor guard dog.  Nevertheless, though he is not a reliable guard, he is an excellent watchdog and will alert his owners to any unfamiliar sound or smell.

  • Separation Anxiety – medium
  • Barking tendency – high
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Compatibility with other animals – medium
  • Suitable for children – high
  • Watchdog suitability – high

Temperament
This breed is happy go lucky and is content in any environment as long as he is with his family.  He is always ready to play, is eager to please, social, intelligent, headstrong and will obsessively track a scent that has caught his attention.

Training
Beagles are smart and aim to please but trying to keep their attention during training lessons can prove to be a bit of a challenge. This hound is easily distracted by smells and will ignore commands in favor of chasing a scent if the opportunity presents itself.  Remember to always be consistent and handle him firmly yet gently.

  • Obedience – low

Exercise required
Possibly the best workout you can give your Beagle are activities in the form of field dog trials, or exercises that resemble these trials.   However, if this is beyond your capabilities, then taking them out for at least two long daily walks and engaging them in playtime should be sufficient.  Bear in mind, Beagles are not demanding of exercise, so you will want to make sure they are provided with a routine to prevent excessive weight gain.

  • Energy – high
  • Amount required – 60 – 80 minutes a day.

Care
With regard to grooming, beagles need daily brushing to remove any dead or loose hair.  A rubber, wire or hard bristled brush gets the job done.   A few baths per year will suffice. Pay attention to cleaning the ears of this breed frequently to avoid ear infections. Lastly, this breed is an average shedder.

Food
The best diet for proper Beagle care is a matter of expert opinion.  Therefore, consulting breeders or veterinarians for advice is the best way to learn how to meet the dog’s nutritional needs.  Nevertheless, quality dry kibble and fresh drinking water is what most Beagles will require.

Dog owners interested in a more natural diet may be interested in the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet, which typically consists of raw natural foods, such as vegetables, fruit, eggs, organ meats, etc.

In addition, the beagle is not a picky eater and can be fed dry or tinned food once or twice daily. Over time, keep an eye on their weight.

Grooming
Grooming Beagles is not a difficult task.  Their coat requires daily brushing, nails need to be clipped once a month and ears should be cleaned every few days.

  • Ease of grooming – high
  • Amount of grooming – medium

Breeding
Most Beagle breeders are forced to work around issues or with factors that will easily discourage the faint-hearted would-be breeder. For example, in recent years, many established breeders have been reducing their kennel size due to poor sales.   Hence, if you are seeking profit, the most popular breeds usually tend to be a vague indicator of what dog breed would be best to focus on.

That said, when it comes to selling puppies, income is not guaranteed unless you are in possession of multiple litters a year that are in demand.   Moreover, there are various health problems that can ruin your potentially perfect litter, such as a cesarean section gone wrong, an undesirable parent trait that you missed, or a disease that leaves you with no alternative but to euthanize the dog.  Finally, even if you were able to sell all of the puppies, you may still have to deal with owners who suddenly want their money back because they no longer want the Beagle for any number of reasons.  Thus, breeding is not something you rush into without carefully thinking it through.

  • Litter size – 2 – 14 puppies.  The average litter size 7
  • Puppy cost – starts at $250 US Dollars, or £500-800

Health
A chief concern among beagles is epilepsy, which can be treated with medication. Hypothyroidism and some varieties of dwarfism can afflict beagles. This breed is known as a chondrodystrophic breed, a term used to describe canine groups vulnerable to certain types of disk diseases.
Their long floppy ears limit air flow and the evaporation of any moisture, which can lead to ear infections if they are not regularly checked. Beagles are also prone to a number of eye problems.  Two common ophthalmic conditions in beagles are glaucoma and corneal dystrophy. There is also a certain problem involving the nose and the tear ducts can lead to dry eye or leakage of tears onto the face.
Beagles who are trained field dogs can suffer the occasional cuts and sprains, while inactive dogs risk obesity if they are overfed and under exercised.  Dogs that work or run free in the wild are at a greater risk for common parasites and irritants, such as grass seeds, which can become trapped in their eyes, soft ears or paws.

  • Life expectancy – the average Beagles lives about 12 years but can live anywhere from 9 – 15 years.
  • Susceptibility to illness – medium
  • Common health problems – IgA deficiency, multiple epiphyseal dysplasia and pruvate kinase deficiency

Ownership
Beagles are very loyal to their owners and are devoted to their family.  They are easy to love, are playful, very sociable and do not like to be left alone.  It is often recommended that if the Beagle will be spending time alone, he should be provided with a second Beagle as a companion.  He is happy to please and obey as long as there are no tantalizing scents around and is a fabulous watchdog and a good natured buddy for children.

Living conditions
The Beagle is suitable to apartment living as long as the owner is willing and ready to provide them with sufficient outdoor exercise.   However, he does best with a large fenced in yard. Given their very strong hunting instinct, beagles need to always be on a leash when walked or in a fenced in yard as he will take off after rodents or other smells without hesitation.

  • Good with Children – He is an excellent companion for kids; gentle, incredibly tolerant and always ready to join in a game.

History
This world famous breed originated from England where they were likely developed from other breeds, such as the Talbot Hound, and the North Country Beagle. The Beagle first started out as a scent hound, bred for chasing rabbits and fowl. The hunting Beagle is both a skilled lone and pack tracker. The Beagle is primarily famous for its magnetic, cheerful disposition. It gained AKC recognition in 1884 and consistently places in the kennel club’s top ten most popular dog breeds year after year. The Snoopy character in Charles Schulz’ popular Peanuts cartoons is perhaps the breed’s foremost endorser.

  • County of origin – United Kingdom
  • AKA KC name and group – Hound.
  • Recognition – CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR

Trivia
Did you know…

  • Famous dogs/owners include –  President Lyndon Johnson, Singer, Barry Manilow and Charlie Brown from Peanuts.
  • The National Geographic reported in 2005 about a beagle puppy being trained to help track down rogue Burmese pythons.
  • Baying is not like the typical “woof,” nor does it seem to be howling… It seems to be the beagles’ way of speaking with other dogs!

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